The Apostolate helps people with sensory disabilities (blind and/or deaf) to find a home in their parish and overcome obstacles to receiving the sacraments.


Ministry for people who are blind or low vision

  • Braille Materials
    • Text for the Mass available in braille upon request – contact us.
  • Audio Materials
    • Apostolate staff is happy to serve as advocates for audio materials related to sacramental prep. For example, a grant could be requested for any audiobooks related to Marriage Prep or Baptism Prep for Catholics who are blind in the Diocese of Madison
  • Visit Xavier Society for the Blind for resources in Braille and Audio. Resources are available free of charge after a short registration process.


  • Prearrange a tour of the church with audio description.
  • Identify yourself and your role. For example, “Hi, I’m Mike and I am the greeter/usher today.”
  • Ask person, “Would you like assistance?” Offer your arm.
  • Describe the scene.
  • Walk on the opposite side of a guide dog, if present.
  • Ask permission before touching a person’s cane or guide dog. Remember that the dog is “on duty” meaning it has been trained to stay on task and keep its companion safe.
  • Give verbal cues that are specific. For example, instead of saying, “Watch out,” say “Joe, there is a trash can in front of you.”
  • Guide an individual’s hand to a banister or the back of a chair to help direct to a stairway or seat. Explain where you are placing their hand in relation to where they are going.
  • Inform a person who is blind and attends church regularly of any physical changes.
  • Offer large print or brailed bulletins, hymnals, and prayer books. These can be ordered from the Xavier Society for the Blind. Only someone who is blind is able to register with the society and order from them. You may need to assist a person who is blind in attaining these resources.
  • Establish before Mass if a person would like accommodations for Communion (e.g. Eucharistic Minister to come to them or a sighted guide to walk with them).
  • Pay attention to a person’s needs. If they look confused or are in a place where they most likely do not want to be, approach them and offer them assistance.

Deaf Ministry


Check out the Deaf Catholics of Wisconsin website!


9am Sunday Mass at St. Dennis Parish

  • Interpreted in ASL
  • Meet other Deaf Catholics

Sunday TV Mass – with ASL interpreter and closed captioning

  • Times and channels
    • 6am on WISC-TV 3
    • 7am on TVW (Channel 3.2 for those with antennas) and Direct TV 14 (Cable)
    • Past Masses are posted to our Facebook page every Sunday and can also be found on Youtube by going to the Channel 3000 page.

Diocesan Events

  • Contact Sue at to be notified of diocesan or regional events for Deaf Catholics such as speakers, visiting deaf priests, opportunities for Confession, and Bible Studies.

Interpreting Needs

  • Parishes can request funding from the Apostolate to provide an ASL interpreter for sacraments (including weddings and funeral masses) or large parish events that Deaf Catholics want to attend.
  • Please contact the Apostolate directly or fill out our ASL Interpreter Request Form below


ASL Interpreter Request Form

For a parish, diocesan, or other Catholic-faith based programing to be interpreted to American Sign Language.

Please note the time the interpreter will need to arrive.
Note* Events, programs, etc lasting longer than 1 hr may require multiple interpreters.
Please indicate the location that interpreter will be going to.
Max. file size: 128 MB.


Books suggestions:

  • Deaf Diaspora by Bob Ayres
  • Inside Deaf Culture by Padden & Humphries

Click here for: Hearing Loss Guide for Catholic Churches

Thank you to Diane, from St. Joseph in Baraboo, for helping us put this guide together!


Hearing Assistive technology

There are many types of hearing assistive technology and one may be better than others to meet the needs of your parish or organization. Please contact the APD to discuss these options.
Hearing Loops (Hard of Hearing), Bluetooth and FM transmitters

Look for this symbol at parish entrances

From  “A hearing loop is a physical loop of specialized wire installed in any size room. Hearing loops are discrete — Only known by people needing hearing assistance. No boxes, headphones, or unsanitary equipment. Only your hearing aids or cochlear implants are required to obtain crystal clear sound you need to hear to believe. Hearing Loops are safe for everyone, even for those with implanted medical devices. Why Are Hearing Loops Necessary? A hearing aid amplifies each and every sound. It can be very difficult for the user to hear a specific sound when there is background noise, since the background noise is also amplified. A hearing loop provides a wireless direct link to the sound source, greatly reducing or eliminating background noise. You now clearly understand what has been spoken.”

Bluetooth and FM transmitters work through connecting directly to a person’s hearing aid through a mobile app, or by transmitting to a receiver that amplifies the sound.

The following is a list of Catholic churches in the Diocese of Madison that we are aware have hearing assistive technology. Hearing loops may also be systems that require each user to wear a personal loop. If a parish has this technology, you will have to find the location of the receivers upon arrival. Thank you to Linda, from St. Peter in Madison for starting this list! If you know of others we should add to the list, please let us know by emailing

Baraboo, St. Joseph 300 2nd St, Baraboo WI 53913

Barneveld, Immaculate Conception 100 Church St, Barneveld, WI 53507

Belmont, St. Philomena 338 Chestnut St, Belmont, WI 53510

Beloit, Our Lady of Assumption 2222 Shopiere Rd, Beloit, WI 53511

Cuba City, St. Rose of Lima (IN PROCESS) 519 Roosevelt St, Cuba City, WI 53807

Cottage Grove, St. Patrick 434 N. Main St, Cottage Grove, WI 53527

Deforest, St. Olaf 623 Jefferson St, Deforest, WI 53523

East Bristol, St. Joseph 1935 County Trunk Hwy V, Sun Prairie, WI 53590

Keiler, Immaculate Conception 3685 Hwy HHH Keiler, WI 53812

Madison, Our Lady Queen of Peace 401 S Owen Dr, Madison WI 53704

Madison, St. James 1204 St. James Ct, Madison, WI 53715

Mazomanie, St. Barnabas 410 Cramer St, Mazomanie, WI 53560

Middleton, St. Bernard 2015 Parmenter St, Middleton, WI 53562

Mineral Point, St. Mary and St. Paul 224 Davis St, Mineral Point, WI 53565

Mount Horeb, St. Michael the Archangel 107 S 7th St, Mt Horeb, WI 53572

Pardeeville, St. Mary Church 318 S Main St, Pardeeville, WI 53954

Platteville, St. Mary 130 W Cedar St, Platteville, WI 53818

Portage, St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception 309 W Cook St, Portage, WI 53901

Princeton, St. John the Baptist 1211 W Main St, Princeton, WI 54968

Tennyson, Saint Andrew 101 Church St, Potosi, WI 53820

Sauk City, St. Aloysius 115 Madison St, Sauk City, WI 53583

Waterloo, St. Joseph 387 S. Monroe St, Waterloo, WI 53594

Marshall, St. Mary of the Nativity 120 Beebe St, Marshall, WI 53559

Waunakee, St. John the Baptist 209 South St, Waunakee, WI 53597 (Personal Loops only)

Westport, St. Mary of the Lake 5460 Mary Lake Rd, Waunakee, WI 53597 (Personal Loops only)


The following parishes have Assistive Listening Devices available:

Dodgeville, St. Joseph 305 E Walnut St, Dodgeville, WI 53533

Madison, Blessed Sacrament 2116 Holister Ave, Madison WI 53726

Madison, St. Dennis 505 Dempsey Rd, Madison, WI 53714

Madison, St. Peter 5001 N Sherman Ave, Madison WI 53704

Waunakee, St. John the Baptist 209 South St, Waunakee, WI 53597

Westport, St. Mary of the Lake 5460 Mary Lake Rd, Waunakee, WI 53597


  • Determine whether the individual prefers to use sign language, writing, gesturing, speaking, or a combination of these to communicate.
  • To get the attention of a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, you can tap them on their shoulder, wave your hand, or flicker the lights.
  • Keep your voice at a normal level when conversing with a person who is wearing a hearing aid. Talking very loudly or shouting gets distorted through their hearing aid. Move closer to the person to help them hear you better.
  • Face a person directly when speaking, and keep your mouth visible your mouth when communicating so that the person can read your lips.
  • When using a sign language interpreter, look directly at the person who is Deaf, and maintain eye contact. Talk directly to the person who is Deaf.
  • Background noises are a problem for people who are hard of hearing. You may need to turn of radios and air conditioners at events.
  • Seek out interaction with people. There is nothing worse than being left out and ignored.
  • Offer assisted listening devices if available, show a person where they are and make sure that devices are fully charged and in proper working order at all times.
  • Consider having a hearing loop installed in your building so that people with hearing aids can have a better experience. Hearing loops don’t just amplify the sound, they allow for the person’s hearing aid to more direct input through the system.
  • Have a note pad and pen readily available.


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